Game of the Year 2016
2016 has come to an end. Finally, some might say, and sure this year certainly did have some lows. It also did have some highs and, especially in the world of video games, 2016 was actually a pretty damn good year. We finally got Gal*Gun: Double Peace in the west for instance!
To me, 2016 will be remembered as the year of pleasant surprises. Games, that on paper seemed destined to fail, turned out to be glorious pieces of software. Obviously we did see some bad games here and there, but the amount of good games was honestly a bit overwhelming. I didn't manage to play them all, and I doubt anyone else was able to do so.
That's why this year's top 10 list was really hard to make. I had to exclude a bunch of games I really enjoyed. I feel like there was a handful of great games coming out every month, which is another great thing to see. Gone are the days where all the big releases, only came out in the fourth quarter. 2016 had new games coming out all the time....well...with the exception of July. Nothing showed up that month, but that was ok. I gave us all a chance to catch up with the first six months of releases.
I'd like to give some games an honorable mention, even though they didn't make the top 10. Starting the year off with The Witness was great. An amazing puzzle game that, even though I actually never got around to finishing it, is something everyone should at least check out. Ratchet & Clank was an amazing remake of the original game. Might still be the best looking game of the year, and still a fun action platformer. It's definitely better than the movie it was released along side with. The Last Guardian was another game that surprised me. The fact that it actually came out, and wasn't a flaming pile of garbage is amazing in itself. Caught in development hell for what felt like an eternity, it had no right being a good game. It definitely has problems, but the interaction between the player and Trico is so well-made, that you forget about the shortcomings. The only reason The Last Guardian didn't make my top 10, is because I just didn't have time to play it enough. What I have played though seemed fantastic. I also had a lot of fun playing The Division with friends, but it has some problems which prevents it from reaching my top 10 list.
Battlefield 1 and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare were both fine. Both of them had a better than expected campaigns and the multiplayer modes were still good. While Battlefield 1 might be one of the best entries in that franchise, I can't say the same for Infinite Warfare as an overall package. Still, I enjoy popping in both games once in a while for some online shooting. Gears of War 4 was actually a fun new entry to the series, I had a blast playing Trackmania Turbo, World of Final Fantasy was a wierd little surprise, Dark Souls III kept being Dark Souls and Pokemon Sun/Moon showed that Pokemon games are still fun, even if you don't catch them on your smartphone. Also shout outs to The King of Fighters XIV, Watch Dogs 2 (so much better than the first one), Dishonored 2, Dino Dini's Kick Off Revival, Le Tour de France 2016 and of course Dead or Alive Xtreme 3: Fortune! Of course there was also a couple of older games I kept playing in 2016. Most notably Destiny, even though Rise of Iron wasn't nearly as good as The Taken King, and The Crew.
2016 was also the year of VR. Oculus Rift, Vive and, later in the year, PlayStation VR all arrived to blast video games straight into our eyeballs. As a bit of a sceptic in the beginning, I decided to wait for the cheapest option in the form of PlayStation VR. I'm glad I didn't upgrade my PC, and went all in for the Vive. The games just aren't there yet. That being said, there is definitely promise in the technology. Until Dawn: Rush of Blood, Job Simulator, Rez Infinite (You NEED to play the Area X stage in VR!), Eagle Flight, Playroom VR, EVE: Valkyrie and Thumper were all amazing experiences. That's the problem though. It's still mostly experiences. We need more substantial games, and developers also need to solve the biggest hurdle: How to let you move around freely in first person without making people sick. If you want to test your stomach, try the VR mode in Rise of the Tomb Raider on PS4, set the controls to free moving and see how it goes. If nothing else though, 2016 was just the first step for VR. 2017 should be the real indicator of how VR will evolve, and we don't have to wait too long for the test subject. I have a feeling that a lot of people are looking to Resident Evil VII, as their first true full on VR video game experience.
I would also like to be a bit patriotic for a second. This year I have two games made in Denmark on my list, and I hope that the succes of these games will inspire more of my fellow Danes to start up video game development. It's unfortunately very hard and expensive, but maybe the people, who controls funding of arts in this country, understand what the media is able to do now. IO Interactive and Playdead have definitely set the bar high this year, (despite what Jeff Gerstmann might tell you about Inside) and it makes me proud to see how far video game development in Denmark has come since Hugo the Troll in the 90's. Also, I would like to pour one out for Press Play. The Danish studio Microsoft decided to close down this year. They're mostly known for Max and the Magic Marker and Max: The Curse of Brotherhood. Hopefully everyone who worked there have found a new job or will find something new in 2017.
I should also mention the disappointments I had this year. Street Fighter V, what happened? It's such a shame because the part where you actually play Street Fighter V, and fight people is amazing. Why the hell Capcom decided to ship an unfinished game, and then had the nerve to ask for more money in the form of a season pass (that only included the characters and not customes or stages), is beyond me. No Man's Sky, what's left to say? I actually enjoyed what was there, and I'm looking forward to seeing how they expand the game. That just doesn't excuse the fact that they tried to sell it, as something it never was. Even Sony threw Hello Games under the bus in a pretty unfair way, as Sony had let the hype build up around it. Hopefully everyone involved in the game's development has learned something about PR. The less said about Mighty No. 9, the better. Quantum Break was a disappointing mediocre third person shooter (MADE BY REMEDY, CREATORS OF MAX PAYNE FOR GOD'S SAKE!) with some badly acted movie scenes in between missions. TMNT: Mutants in Manhattan was a horrible mistake. It could've been fantastic but instead it was a short, rushed, repetitive and boring Turtles game. Battleborn might be the worst game I've spent money on in the last 10 years. What Gearbox was trying to do with that game I'll never know. At least it renewed my reasons to not like Randy Pitchford and his company, for what they did with Aliens: Colonial Marines. Star Fox Zero was a game that lived up to the expectations. Unfortunately that meant it wasn't very good. Poor Wii U in general. It was obvious everyone at Nintendo had shifted development to the upcoming Switch and besides Star Fox, the only other Wii U releases I remember from this year are Paper Mario: Color Splash and Tokyo Mirage Sessions. I played Paper Mario, it was ok but nothing special, and TMS is the one game this year I feel bad for having missed as everyone praised it. I will make sure to pick it up sooner rather than later.
Phew, that went a bit longer than expected. That alone should tell the story that 2016 was jampacked with games, and the amazing thing is that 2017 doesn't look too bad either. Especially with a new Nintendo console hitting the market in March, and there's also the Scorpio at the end of the year. Here's hoping you will have a great new year, and here are the 10 games I enjoyed the most in 2016.